My knives have become dull. For some reason, I allowed a significant tool in my life to lose its edge. It happens, I guess, when we lose focus. This past weekend I sported my t-shirt that reads “Death Before Dull” and it was a great reminder that it was time to sharpen up. I believe that seasonality has a good amount to do with the state of a person’s mood. Being that it’s been unseasonably warm recently it’s given me a good jump start on the “Spring Cleaning” mindset. I pulled all my knives off of the wall and started sharpening them one by one. It doesn’t take too long to begin to shape up a decent edge so it’s kind of silly that I haven’t done it earlier. For whatever reason, I guess we form these mental blockades that stop us from doing things we know are the right thing to do. Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I’m also hesitant in using tools that might be able to make my life more efficient. I don’t know what this is all about, bear with me as I try to sort it out.
I tend to shy away from the cooking appliances and equipment that have too many bells and whistles, you know the ones that connect to the cyber cloud, wake you up in the morning and feed your dog? I don’t have a microwave or a toaster oven or a coffee maker in my home kitchen. The biggest reason probably has to do with space but I’m not a big gadget guy. I can use my stoves broiler just fine. I prefer French press coffee. When I think about it, the idea of simple is something I may have consciously or at times unconsciously made as my personal mantra. I admire the home cook who can whip up a ridiculously delicious meal so effortlessly. When I cook, this doesn’t always happen. In fact, maybe it rarely happens. Let’s say, it’s something I continue to strive toward accomplishing. It’s like achieving some monk-like mastery level. The style of food I tend to gravitate towards most is straightforward, ingredient driven, and simply presented. The presentation does not have to be elaborate but visually attractive and yet the flavor combinations should always be well thought out. I’ve noticed that I tend to build blockades in front of things that I may not naturally gravitate towards. I find avant-garde presentations and the use of molecular gastronomy to be fascinating and exciting to experience but I’ve noticed it doesn’t have as much of a connection for me personally. It isn’t as touching or lacks the soul that communicates with me best. However, I have attempted to practice some of these techniques at times. It’s important for me to try to keep up with the latest trends in order to incorporate them into my bag of tricks in hopes to continue a progression of personal style.
I’ve also noticed that I’ve taken a similar stance when it comes to music. This rustic and simple vs. the avant-garde/molecular but in this case analog vs. digital. As a DJ, my preferred medium has been vinyl based since the beginning. There’s something about that format that’s almost magical to me. It has to do with the shape, the cover art, the feel, the warped, the scratches, and the warmth it projects. I’ve been opposed and hesitant to switch to the latest software, the digital format of playing music and have always been more drawn to the analog ways. Although vinyl sales have been doing great in the last 10 years or so, it is becoming harder to find record stores which is my preferred method of shopping for music. Purchasing online is just not the same. There’s no surly introverted weirdo that is there to help cash you out. There’s no musty smell of old records, no posters of events on the walls, it’s just not as fun. There’s a missing connection to the experience. The hunt. The digging.
I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that it’s time to “adapt and overcome.” I should confront my hesitance head on. I finally jumped in and made the change. I recently purchased a device that requires software that’s needed in order to play music on my sound system. I’ve been youtubing like crazy trying to figure the system out. I’m learning that there are so many possibilities and there’s a bit of a learning curve for sure. It’s going to take a while to figure it out but I’m really excited about its potential. To me, the art of the mix is what has always been important. Choosing a set of records that make sense together, matching tempos by manipulating the spinning vinyl so slightly and mastering the blend just right. This new system allows you to hit a button and it will “sync” automatically which kind of takes the skill out of it. However, there’s so many more possibilities. It seems like there’s endless functions and effects. I’m trying to really embrace these new “bells and whistles” and not become an old curmudgeon yet. I’m not planning to get rid of all of my vinyl or my turntable but it’s becoming a much more concentrated collection in which I plan to incorporate into my sets.
I’m beginning to like this place of being in between two worlds. Straddling the line of avant-garde and rustic, digital and analog. I’m not sure if it’s a reflection of the stage of life I’m in or the day and time we all live in? When I look around to reflect on the place in which I live I can witness this converging of style to be very relevant in my city’s landscape as well. Raleigh, the city of oaks where the tobacco barn is becoming a ghost of the landscape and the newly built crisp condo high rise stands tall downtown casting shadows on its past. It’s important, in my opinion, to respect where it is we’ve been so we can analyze what’s worked and what hasn’t. We can make the proper corrections and utilize our paths to success’. we can take inventory of the resources available to us and continue to sharpen our tools in order to progress and move forward. #CultivateWholisticNourishment
If you’d like to dig a little deeper, check out this post. It includes a mixtape……. Oak City Soul Sessions